Part of the fun of owning a Jeep is upgrading it for off-road driving. Choosing the best upgrades for the kind of use the Jeep will be getting is a challenge. Deciding what use, you will be putting that new Jeep to is the first step. Then, learning which upgrades will get the job done and purchasing them at the best price is important. Last, the right mechanic must be found to properly install the chosen upgrades.
Finding the Jeep Upgrades for Off-roading
Finding a supplier like Offroad Power Products that provides good-quality products for reasonable prices is important. Aftermarket products for Jeeps are not equal. But, how do you tell the good products from the rip-off products? Some companies have a reputation and track record to rely on. There are different categories of aftermarket jeep parts to consider. They include:
- Wheels and wheel accessories, axels, and differentials
- Electronics, action cameras, electrical components, and navigation products
- Winches and recovery equipment, ramps, and trailering equipment
- Suspension, steering, lighting, and performance brakes
- Exterior and interior accessories, gear, tools, and apparel
- Bumpers, replacement fenders, fender flares, and body armor
- Transmission and transfer case products and exhaust parts
In addition, the parts must be made for and perfectly fit the vehicle type, make, year, and model.
Off-roading Requires the Right Equipment and Skills
Before setting out for that first off-road experience, do a little research, read some off-roading books or magazines, and consider riding along with an expert before trying it on your own. Obtaining the proper driving skills and equipment will avoid problems later. Go with a group of experienced off-roaders at first to learn from their experience. Make sure your vehicle has the best bumpers, suspension, and tires for the trail. Consider these off-road driving tips:
- Learn to read the terrain to avoid potentially dangerous situations. Consider scouting new off-road trail sections on foot before driving them. Note steep drops, dangerous sections of trail, and plan how to maneuver over or around them. Elevate your view to see further ahead and anticipate trail changes in advance. Learn to see steep downhill or uphill sections of trail. In a group, you can watch another vehicle drive ahead.
- Choose the right gear for the type of trails you will be driving. It is important to use the correct transmission gear, low-range gearset, and so on. The transmission gear must help you adapt to different sections of the trail from rocky to muddy to sandy and so on.
- Be sure to take recovery gear along on the adventure. Part of off-road driving is getting stuck, and getting free requires the correct equipment, such as a heavy-duty, two-inch-wide tow straps with loops on each end. An electric winch rated for your vehicle is helpful if you are driving alone.
- Consider having lower tire pressure for increased traction. The lower tire pressure will have many advantages. But, lower it too much and you risk popping a tire bead off the rim, resulting in a flat tire. The lower tire pressure also reduces ground clearance. Some areas will call for higher air pressure. Consider taking along an onboard air compressor with a good gauge. Then, the tire air pressure can be adjusted to the trail.
- Learn how to find tire traction in sand, rocks, mud, and holes. One method is to back off the gas and move the steering wheel back and forth to look for traction. The driver might need to back up and find a new path forward in some cases. During these techniques, keep your thumbs outside the steering wheel to avoid injury if the steering wheel suddenly snaps in one direction or another.
- Before considering crossing a stream, check the depth of the stream and know the fording depth of the vehicle. One method of checking stream depth is to grab a long tree branch and wade into the stream using it to determine depth.
- Knowing the angles of approach and departure for the off-road vehicle involves more than just the high ground clearance. You need to have a mental picture of how much room you have under the bumpers and the center of the vehicle and compare that to the terrain rocks and ruts to avoid getting hung up.
Be Prepared for Offroad Emergencies
There are always risks in off-roading. Being prepared makes those mishaps and emergencies survivable. It is important to carry spare parts to avoid vehicle failure and getting stranded in the middle of nowhere. Figure out what parts most likely to fail are and carry spare parts for replacement. No one wants to be stranded and waiting for a rescue that could take hours or days. Don’t go off-roading without a fully charged cellphone. Tell someone where you are going and when to expect you back.
Some emergencies involve accidents and personal injury, so carry a first aid kit in the vehicle. The kit should contain what is needed to stop blood loss, clean and patch simple wounds, and help you survive while waiting for help.
Those multipurpose knives are great to have in case you need to cut a seat belt, break a window, and get out of the vehicle quickly. Seat belts can get stuck on impact, and doors can get jammed and refuse to open.
Take along a fire extinguisher meant for vehicles and have it affixed somewhere in the cab. Putting out a vehicle fire and preventing the rig from burning to the ground is important.
If the vehicle is disabled and you are stuck out on the trail for hours or overnight, things can get cold. Have a blanket or two and some warm clothing in the vehicle. Rain gear is also good to have on hand. If a person must stay outside the vehicle, warm clothing to provide protection from the elements is important. Don’t rely on the vehicle heater for warmth in case the engine isn’t running or a window is broken.
Every off-road driver should take along enough food and water for all those in the vehicle in case of an emergency. Granola bars and bottled water are the minimum to have. Do not risk being stranded with no food or water. Thinking ahead to all the things that could happen and then being prepared for the worst-case scenario can keep you safe when things go wrong.
Before heading out for an adventure, be sure to check the weather forecast, forest fire coverage, and any other important considerations for the area you will be driving in. Driving with a group is safer than driving alone. And finally, don’t take unnecessary chances that can cause damage to the vehicle or injury to the driver.